I hate to add more anxiety to young people, or their parents, after everything they’ve been through the past two years. But we have to talk about the tensions that Santa Claus and his team face at the North Pole.
We’ve all been here in the relative mildness of the Midwest, seeing the effects of climate change, which so far has mostly resulted in a longer growing season, milder winters, more rain, and spells of drought. .
At the North Pole, the changes have been more visible and dramatic, foreshadowing all kinds of challenges for St. Nick. And things are getting worse faster than expected, scientists say.
The Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment program now suggests that the North Pole will be ice-free during summers as early as the 2030s. Previous studies predicted ice-free summers at the North Pole by now the middle of the century.
For a guy who has perfected his Christmas operation in perpetual cold, ice, wind and blizzards, the changes may require a change in our Christmas / Santa stories.
I imagine Santa Claus watching around the melting ice and considering new hobbies in his off season. Rather than hanging out with his reindeer, maybe he is practicing his golf swing. But he might be surprised to find that there is no land under the ice he lives on, just the Arctic Ocean.
I saw Santa Claus water skiing at one of these water shows in Florida. It was a good gag, playing on the idea that someone living on perpetual ice would be hovering over the water. But Nicholas could soon ask the elves to make water skis to connect with the reindeer.
The absence of white blizzards and thick ice at the North Pole must confuse everyone from the reindeer to the abominable snow monster. Hey I remember the movie “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” and Bumble the Snow Monster is a heavy guy who needs a lot of thick ice to support his weight. And Rudolph’s shiny nose probably isn’t a big deal to other reindeer anymore now, with a few foggy, snowstorm-filled nights hitting the Arctic.
With Santa Claus facing dislocation sooner rather than later, parents and kids decades away could be talking about how Santa and Rudolph take off from the South Pole on Christmas Eve.
South Pole ice is also melting, but not as fast in the Arctic. And there is at least some land under the South Pole, providing a long-term base for a new Christmas headquarters.
There are a lot of things about Santa that I don’t understand, but one of them is how he knows when to go for his annual Christmas run.
At the North Pole, 24 time zones collide at a single point, making them insignificant. It is simultaneously all of the Earth’s time zones and none of them. If it settles at the South Pole, there will also be no time zone to pass.
Worrying about climate change is probably not the only concern of grown-ups these days. I know Santa has strong magic and he would definitely be a cheerful guy, but I imagine even he is facing a shortage of manpower. You think it’s hard to find someone with a background in mechatronics for the production line, imagine finding elves who know how to build everything from Legos to PlayStations fast.
Anyway for Santa, I hope things continue for him and the elves. I have requests for gifts that span at least the next two decades.
Tim Krohn can be contacted at [email protected] or 507-344-6383.